What about Bob?
A determined soul
Moshe Mark Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
Senior Speech Language Pathologist
Author: Teaching of Talking
I met Bob when working at a famous outpatient clinic in Houston, Texas, TIRR Kirby Glen. Bob’s wife brought him there from a community about an hour and a half drive for speech evaluation and therapy.
Bob had a severe apraxia and expressive aphasia, and his wife had to do almost all the interpreting for him since few could understand what he was saying. His apraxia was so bad that many words were unintelligible. Each time I tried to comprehend what he was saying, he would attempt to say it over again, numerous times. His wife thought since I was a speech language pathologist, I would be able to understand what he was saying, but for the life of me I could not.
His speech was so indistinguishable that his wife had to interrupt the conversation and tell me what he had said. She was familiar with the context of the situation that Bob was mentioning.
Bob had an intense desire to communicate. We started seeing him 3 times a week and then 5 times a week. His brother in law would bring him every day for therapy and both Bob and his brother in law were trained to decrease Bob’s speech rate, and improve his articulation. Then we stimulated sentences which included those words he had previous difficulty with, and we would converse about food, restaurants, going out to eat, cooking, money, and all the things Bob liked to do.
After one year of therapy Bob’s speech was about 85% intelligible, and he could have a conversation with just about anyone. In fact towards the conclusion of therapy in Houston, Bob got into a fender bender and was able to communicate with the person who drove the other car, and a police officer.
Bob no longer has to come to speech and language therapy in Houston. He communicates adequately. However, he has now helped start an aphasia group in his hometown and goes to visit people in the hospital who have strokes and aphasia.
He is a lighthouse for those who are troubled and scared, and he meets with family members and let’s them know how important it is to find a good therapist and have the family support system trained in how to help their loved one talk with more clarity at home. Bob and his family understood the value of a therapist who is committed to improved speaking and assuring that family members know what to do to help the person with speaking difficulty improve.
They realized therapy at a clinic or hospital is never enough for true speech recovery.
It must be supplemented by hours of speaking with loved ones at home. The same goes for children who are not talking. Getting therapy at school is never enough for children who are not talking or those who have severe speaking difficulties.
Speech therapy students, speech language pathologists, caregivers, loved ones, and parents are learning a new way to help others speak. It’s easy to learn since you can learn it by following simple audio, written, or video lessons. If you would like to know how you can improve your skills at helping your loved one or people talk, click below.
Moshe Mark Ittleman